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Prepare yourself for when Pete Kozma makes the 2016 Yankees

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In the year 2016, Pete Kozma will be on the Yankees' active roster on Opening Day. Not because he deserves it or because they signed him to a major league deal–don't worry, they didn't–but because they have a role that needs filling and only he, somehow, can fill it. After trading for Starlin Castro, the Yankees settled their need for a second baseman, but in the process they traded away Brendan Ryan, who was the only guy on the roster who could play third base (outside of Chase Headley, of course). Sure, Headley played 156 games in 2015, but he's going to need a few days off and if he misses time, they're going to need someone who can step in for him. Right now all they have is Pete Kozma, who is not very good.

Pete Kozma was a glove-first shortstop with the Cardinals who never looked like much of a baseball player until he was forced into a starting role in 2013. Even as he played in 143 games that year, he still didn't look like much of one, hitting a heinous .217/.275/.273 in nearly 500 plate appearances and forcing the Cardinals to go out and get a full-time shortstop after the season. Two years later they non-tendered him and now he's with the Yankees. Brian Cashman had a chance to find someone else in the Rule 5 Draft, but who can blame him for not wanting to promise a roster spot to a complete unknown who probably won't even be that good? Eric Jagielo isn't quite ready to play at the big league level, and his glove might not even be capable of playing at third base. The only other internal candidate they have is Rob Segedin, who will be 27 and doesn't look to have a chance in the majors.

Kozma isn't even that good of a candidate for the lowly position of backup third baseman. He's a shortstop and has only played a handful of games at second and third–just 30 games at third base in his entire career. The Yankees already have Didi Gregorius at short and Starlin Castro can play both middle infield positions, so Kozma is a bit redundant. What the Yankees could use is a corner bat who can actually hit. Maybe someone like Pedro Alvarez, if he can still fake it at third, or Juan Uribe, would make sense. Uribe is old at 36, and we know the Yankees don't like old people anymore, but this might be one old guy who actually makes sense for them. He likely wouldn't require much of a commitment and he's still an above-average hitter. The problem is they don't have a lot of playing time to promise a free agent, so all they have is Pete Kozma.

The Yankees could force someone into this role by making a trade, but then you're looking at some bad players with a lot of money attached to them like Aaron Hill and Chris Johnson, bad players with no money attached to them like Andrew Romine, and decent players who the Yankees are already paying, like Martin Prado. All this adds up to the Yankees making Pete Kozma a member of the 2016 Yankees on Opening Day. Not because they want to, but because they really have no other choice. Thankfully, he will probably not get much playing time, but then they will be stuck with a 24-man roster because what exactly would Kozma be doing that no one else could do?

The Yankees are far from done this offseason, but if much of the roster stays as it is, they're already so versatile that they don't have enough playing time to go around. Didi Gregorius can play shortstop and probably second base, Starlin Castro can play second base and shortstop. Dustin Ackley can play second, first, and all three outfield positions. They can probably stick various players at first base if needed. The only position still left is third base–one position away from having room for Greg Bird on the roster. They'll still look, but can they really find anyone who is even worth bothering to bring in?

Apparently the Yankees depth chart knows something we don't:

Castro has played a grand total of seven games at third base during his entire professional career and there's no way the Yankees go with a 40-year-old Alex Rodriguez at third base.

Sure, I could be wrong about Kozma. Maybe the Yankees find someone and he ends up with 500 plate appearances in Scranton, but this is me callin' it.